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Daily Devotion for August 4, 2014


<i>Elijah and the Priests of Baal</i> by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1545
Elijah and the Priests of Baal by Lucas Cranach the Younger, ca. 1545.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.




Lord of All Hopefulness

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy, be there at my waking, and give me, I pray, your bliss in my heart, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at my labors, and give me, I pray, your strength in my heart, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at my homing, and give me, I pray, your love in my heart, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at my sleeping, and give me, I pray, your peace in my heart, Lord, at the end of the day.

Amen.

Prayer of Thanks for Patience in My Tasks

Lord, I thank you for teaching me how to live in the present moment. In this way I enjoy each simple task as I do it without thinking that I must hurry on to the next thing. I do what I am doing with all my ability and all my concentration. My mind is no longer divided, and life is more peaceful. Thank you for teaching me how to do this, and please help me how to show others the way to learn to trust you more completely and to do everything which has to be done at your time and your speed.

Amen.

Meditation

[Let my mind be undivided.]


Benediction

May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.






endless knot

God is more interested in declaring than explaining.

~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel


Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 18:20-40 (ESV)(abridged)

The History of the Northern Kingdom (4) - Elijah vs. Priests of Baal

[In the preceding verses, Elijah — whom King Ahab had been searching after for years, to kill him — came out of hiding and, walking right up to Ahab, challenged him to “gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” the next morning].

So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.

Elijah came near and said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord remaining, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves. And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.”

And they took the bull and prepared it, and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered.

Elijah calls down fire on Baal priests | 1 Kings 18

And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

Then Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”

And Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.


Notes on the Scripture

If anyone wonders at the fame of Elijah, this great story goes a long way. He had brass. Not even Moses or Paul, stalwart as they were, walked alone into a pagan court, stood before a king sworn to kill him, and challenged his priests to a duel at sunrise. He was, as he said, the last prophet of God in Israel, for Jezebel had slaughtered them to a man.

And what a mouth he had on him! He taunts them. “Maybe Baal is daydreaming,” he shouts. “Or maybe he is using the bathroom!”

There just isn't much one can add to this priceless tale. Elijah was one of a kind.



Raphael putti, Sistine Madonna
Raphael's famous putti, or cherubs, detail from a painting known as the Sistine Madonna (not part of the Sistine Chapel), c. 1513.

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Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.



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